Talk:Nettle (disambiguation)

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Unnecessary disambiguation?[edit]

The material appearing on this page and which relates to plant nettles should properly be part of an article dealing with 'Nettle'. Paul venter (talk) 06:55, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

I totally disagree. There was an article at "Nettle" and it was a confused mess of information about Stinging plants, the family Urticaceae, the genus Urtica and the species Urtica dioica. Just because there is an English word doesn't mean that the word corresponds to a topic; "nettle" is used very vaguely in English. I've been going though all the articles which have wikilinks to "nettle" and fixing them. Probably about half mean Urtica dioica (so-called "stinging nettle", but this is properly only some subspecies of that species); the rest mean an undefined set of species of Urtica varying according to the locality of the reference, the genus Urtica as a whole, or the family Urticaceae. None so far mean the supposed "topic" of the original Nettle article, namely Urtica plus other plants which sting.
What is the encyclopaedic topic corresponding to "nettle"? There is none, other than all the uses of the word in English, which is what this dab page covers. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:23, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the original article was just a mass of confusion. There seems to be a common pattern though, that disambiguation pages where the disambiguation and the primary topic are the same, as is the situation now for Nettle, are placed at the simple name without "(disambiguation)". "Nettle (disambiguation)" then becomes a redirect to "Nettle". Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:44, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree. However, right now I am working my way through the hundreds of articles with links to Nettle, fixing them to the correct link (mostly it seems Urtica dioica or Urtica, but occasionally Urticaceae). When I've finished, I agree that Nettle (disambiguation) should be moved to Nettle. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:42, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
I know the original article led to confusion - I first touched on it some while back when I pointed out to Sminthopsis84 that the article was taking a very narrow view of 'nettle' if it didn't include all the other plants so named across the English-speaking world. Nettle is NOT used vaguely in English - it means a plant with stinging hairs. That this covers hundreds of separate taxa is a problem one has to deal with, but the problem is not resolved by placing the main focus of a nettle article on Urtica. Paul venter (talk) 07:37, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't think that it's true that "nettle" means "a plant with stinging hairs". I'm working through about 400 articles which had a link to "Nettle" (at the moment a redirect to a disambiguation page). I've nearly finished but haven't yet found one in which the link actually should have gone to Stinging plant. Within Wikipedia articles, "nettle" means, in descending order of likelihood: Urtica dioica generally, including non-stinging subspecies; the genus Urtica or some unclear set of Urtica species common in the locality intended in the article; the family Urticaceae; stinging subspecies of Urtica dioica i.e. stinging nettles. The word "nettle" is used as part of the name of various stinging plants, but "nettle" alone doesn't mean this. "Nettle" is also used to refer to a number of non-stinging plants. For example, although the botanically minded in the UK refer to Lamium and other similar labiates as "deadnettles", they are still regularly called "nettles". (On a much smaller scale, it's a bit like "robin" – this is used as part of the name of at least two birds, but that doesn't mean that there should be an article called "Robin" about birds with red breasts. On a larger scale, consider daisy.)
My impression is that for the word "nettle" to be part of the English name of the plant, its growth habit and in particular its leaves have to look vaguely nettle-like. Thus when they have stinging hairs, Tragia species, Mucuna species and Jatropha species don't have "nettle" in their common names. On the other hand, non-stinging Solenostemon (coleus) species are called "nettles" – coleus hybrids are called "flame nettles".
The issue to be decided, when I've finished sorting out links to "Nettle", is what this name should be used for.
  1. My slight preference is that "Nettle (disambiguation)" should be moved to "Nettle".
  2. "Nettle" could be a redirect to any of Urticaceae or Urtica or even just to Urtica dioica, but the ambiguity of "nettle" suggests to me that none of these has a strong priority over the other.
  3. You seem to think that "Nettle" should redirect to Stinging plant, but this seems to be the least common and most ambiguous of the many uses of the word. If you don't agree, then please show me the evidence which disproves my analysis above.
Peter coxhead (talk) 08:29, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm confused by your contributions to this discussion: At the start of this discussion I suggest that the content of the disambigation page would make more sense if forming part of the 'Nettle' article. Your response is "I totally disagree." Then Sminthopsis84 suggests ""Nettle (disambiguation)" then becomes a redirect to "Nettle"" and you reply "I agree". Then finally you write "My slight preference is that "Nettle (disambiguation)" should be moved to "Nettle"."
I think the problem is a different use of "article" in "'Nettle' article". I thought you meant a full article, not a disambiguation page or a set index article. Peter coxhead (talk) 13:14, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
My Chambers dictionary defines nettle as "a common weed with stinging hairs" which I think would also be the view of the vast majority of users consulting WP. If I as a layman wanted to know more about nettles, and was shown to a disambiguation page with dozens of links to various species of plants that are associated with the word 'nettle', I would feel frustrated since I would not have started my enquiry knowing the botanical name of any particular nettle, but instead would have been looking for a general discussion on nettles. I don't think that "Nettle" should redirect to Stinging plant Paul venter (talk) 11:37, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

I would suggest that "Nettle (disambiguation)" should read

  • Nettle (plant)" redirect to Nettle which lists all plants having the word 'nettle' in their common names
  • Nettle (surname) redirect
  • Nettle (ship) redirect
  • Sea nettle redirect
  • Nettle (cryptographic library) redirect

Paul venter (talk) 11:57, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

This would certainly work, but wouldn't a re-organization of "Nettle (disambiguation)" so that the plant list was all together be just as good and save the reader having to go to another page? Also you say "a general discussion on nettles" (my emphasis) – I really don't know what this could be other than a disambiguation/set index article, which I wouldn't call a "discussion". Peter coxhead (talk) 13:14, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree that a disambiguation page shouldn't be a discussion, but should simply help a user find his way quickly to where he wants to be. My feeling is that the primary meaning of 'Nettle' is the plant and that a search should take the user directly there. At the top of the 'Nettle' page could be the standard message that a 'Nettle (disambiguation)' page exists if the plant is not what was required. Paul venter (talk) 18:52, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Comment: "a general discussion on nettles" reminds me of a request that came to me to identify what a farmer wanted to sell as medicinal "stinging nettle"; it was the non-stinging plant with pink flowers Agastache urticifolia. I was told that his grandfather always called it "nettle", possibly having had it identified as "horse nettle" in the past. So my point is that the use of the word "nettle" is slippery, and a list format could be very helpful. The short discussion that is already at the top of this page is, I think, a good format. If the reader wants stinging plant, and if they want Urtica, those are right there for clicking. From Urtica, they might want Urtica dioica, which is also very handy for clicking. If they want any of the other plants called "nettle", the "bull nettle"-"painted nettle" format is as helpful as I think it is possible to be for someone engaged in such a difficult search. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:58, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

@Paul venter: You say "the primary meaning of 'Nettle' is the plant". I'm baffled by your phrase "the plant". What plant? I and Sminthopsis84 have spent time trying to explain that "nettle" doesn't refer to one plant, so how can the primary meaning be "the plant"? Or do you just mean that the various plant-related meanings of "nettle" should have priority over the other meanings? If so, I agree, but putting them first on the disambiguation page is sufficient in my view. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:17, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

I mean 'plant" as opposed to 'surname', 'animal', 'ship' and any other meanings - certainly not one particular species! cf I first touched on it some while back when I pointed out to Sminthopsis84 that the article was taking a very narrow view of 'nettle' if it didn't include all the other plants so named across the English-speaking world. Paul venter (talk) 21:15, 18 August 2013 (UTC)


So if we understand each other correctly now, the choice (once I've finished sorting out "nettle" links please!) seems to be between:

  1. A single disambiguation page at "Nettle", listing all uses of "nettle" of any kind, i.e. a page like Daisy
  2. A disambiguation page at "Nettle (disambiguation)" plus a set index article (SIA) at "Nettle", i.e. a page like like Groundsel. The disambiguation page would have a single link directing plant-related uses of "nettle" to the set index page.

Traditionally, it seems that (1) has been how these cases are handled. User:Plantdrew has recently been arguing the merits of SIAs, and I can see some advantages in them, but also disadvantages. In particular, there is a bot warning if you create a new link to a dab page, but not if you create a new link to an SIA, so I worry that links to "nettle" would proliferate again, when almost all should be links to "Urtica dioica", "Urtica" or "Urticacae". Peter coxhead (talk) 21:34, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

From all the above I hope it is clear that I support the set index article (SIA) version. The potential problems of users blindly linking to 'Nettle' could also be handled by a bot warning - I'm surprised the boffins haven't yet been cajoled into creating one! Paul venter (talk) 22:12, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
The bots exist, but they only check links to disambiguation pages, not set indices. It probably would be pretty simple to get all the SIAs at Category:Set indices on plant common names patrolled by bots, although I'm not sure whether the folks running those bots would want to do so (I've been reluctant to suggest something that might be contentious, although I guess I should do so). Although I've been converting lots of DABs on plant common names to SIAs, the articles I've converted have few (if any) incoming links. I've been avoidng splitting off separate SIAs on a plant name due to concerns about the loss of bot checks, although I do think this would be appropriate in the long run, especially if we can get bots to check the SIAs. Check out the incoming links to Sycamore (split from Sycamore (disambiguation), or List of plants known as lotus (split from Lotus) to see what happens when there are no bot checks.
And to clarify, I don't have my heart set on treating things as SIAs necessarily, but WP:MOSDAB is very restrictive, and I've seen a number of Disambiguation Project editors removing useful information that helps the reader find the article they're looking for because the additional information isn't MOSDAB compliant. Personally, I'd be happy to keep things as DABs, but MOSDAB is pretty clear, and I'm not going to argue that MOSDAB should be changed.Plantdrew (talk) 21:42, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Right - the most clear point I noticed immediately are the partial title matches that aren't allowed on disambiguation pages, but certainly allowed on set index articles. What you're really trying to compile here is a list or set index of all the plants commonly referred to as nettle in some way, correct? That's not a disambiguation page, though you're hoping it also aids navigation to the proper species. For this a set index article is better. Rkitko (talk) 03:42, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree that in principle SIAs are better for lists of ambiguous or partial plant names. They can also include images, which might placate those who want Wikipedia plant articles to be useful for identification purposes. But without a bot check for links being added inappropriately, they are very problematic. I've now fixed about 400 pages that used to have inappropriate links to "Nettle" and am now working on the smaller number with links to "Nettles". What's very clear is that non-botanically oriented editors fondly imagine that common names they know or have found in sources, like "nettle", "dock", "ivy", "holly", even "daisy", are unambiguous, and they happily wikilink them. If these become SIAs there will be no warning or check.
So let's raise this as an issue. Perhaps it would be better if Rkitko did this, as a well-respected admin. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:07, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Well, this disambiguation page would not move if a SIA was created for the plants named nettle. Because this dab page includes terms other than plants or even organism-related, they couldn't be included in a SIA on set of items of a specific type that share the same name. I would shift the plants to something like Plantdrew has been creating, e.g. List of plants known as nettle, and link to that from here with a few of the most common examples. Since nettle redirects here (the point of that being...? Why not just leave the dab at nettle?) That would alleviate the frustrating linking problem and lack of bot solution on this series of articles, at least.
Alternatively, the SIA on all the plants (organisms?) could be at nettle since it is, I would argue, more of a primary purpose than the remaining entries on the dab if the plants were removed. SIAs are not just better, though, they are required if you want to include partial title matches.
I am no more qualified to raise the issue at WP:BOTREQ than anyone else; adminship is WP:NOBIGDEAL and doesn't confer respect. I would, however, be interested to see if it is possible to have the same kind of work done to SIAs that User:DPL bot does to dab pages. Perhaps its worth it to ask User:JaGa directly as the bot operator. --Rkitko (talk) 12:58, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, we all agree, I think, that if there's to be an SIA, there has also to be a dab.
As for titles, I've finished sorting out links to "Nettle" so the title is available for use. I favour it being the title of the dab page, with an SIA at "List of plants known as nettle".
I'm not quite so sure as you that admins don't command more respect in practice, regardless of the theory, but I'll raise the issue with the bot operator, as you suggest. Peter coxhead (talk) 13:36, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
You may have already noticed, but I did leave a note on User talk:DPL bot. I think the plant common name is probably the primary topic. I favor the pair nettle (SIA)/nettle (disambiguation) (DAB) over List of plants known as nettle(SIA)/nettle(DAB). Plantdrew (talk)18:27, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I didn't notice actually; I left a note at the operator's talk page. If there is a bot checking for the addition of SIA links, then "Nettle" as the SIA title would be ok. Otherwise editors will just keep adding inappropriate links to "Nettle", which is less likely if it's the dab page. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:10, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Urtica dioica as "nettle" and "common nettle"[edit]

I've just reverted some drastic page renaming which seems to be quite at odds with the results of the discussion above. Some of the changes involved that old chestnut, calling a particular plant "the common something" (Urtica dioica as "the common nettle"), contrary to the spirit of WP:WORLDVIEW. Getting the "disambiguation" out of the title would be okay with me, but please retain a useful structure for the pages, and do not redirect "nettle" to Urtica dioica. Texas cowpokes and many others would be grateful to continue to be able to find their local nettles with a simple search. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:33, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

However, User:JHunterJ did have valid concern, namely that the old version was not in accord with WP:MALPLACED and that the format wasn't quite right for a disambiguation page. However, the changes he or she made were not consistent with the consensus reached here. I've restructured Nettle (disambiguation) based on those disambiguation pages like Lotus that have corresponding "List of plants known as ..." pages. I would now be inclined to move Nettle (disambiguation) to Nettle, which deals with the MALPLACED issue. Alternatively, and perhaps better, Nettle could redirect to List of plants known as nettle with a hatnote referring to Nettle (disambiguation). Peter coxhead (talk) 23:22, 28 October 2013 (UTC)